Suffering, Perseverance, Character (Part 3 of 4), and Hope
Again, I sincerely apologize for the prolonged delayed in continuing this series. Life is far from boring. It seems that there is always something vying for our attention and investments of our time.
Throughout Part 3 of this series I will focus on the intrinsic value derived from character, specifically within the context of Christianity.
As per usual, I will begin with a working definition of character from a Biblical perspective in order to establish a solid foundation for this school of thought.
Dictionary.com defines character in general terms as follows:
Character(noun) – the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing; moral or ethical quality; qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity.
On an article from GotQuestions.org aptly titled, “What does the Bible say about Christian character?“, a person’s character is defined as being:
…the sum of his or her disposition, thoughts, intentions, desires, and actions. It is good to remember that character is gauged by general tendencies, not on the basis of a few isolated actions.
With the above definitions in mind, the importance of one’s character cannot be overemphasized, particularly in relation to Christians. It is essentially what makes us who we are by means of forming our identity. Therefore, it is only logical that over time perseverance will in fact yield good character as believers are progressively conformed to the image and likeness of Christ(sanctification).
In the same article, GotQuestions.org continues by identifying the symbiotic relationship between the choices we make and our character:
Character is influenced and developed by our choices. Daniel “resolved not to defile himself” in Babylon (Daniel 1:8), and that godly choice was an important step in formulating an unassailable integrity in the young man’s life. Character, in turn, influences our choices. “The integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3a). Character will help us weather the storms of life and keep us from sin (Proverbs 10:9a).
This interdependence between our decisions and our character is tremendously
important in anybody’s life, Christian or not. However, this relationship bears an integral implication towards believers because “it is the Lord’s purpose to develop character within us” (GotQuestions.org). A Christian’s character embodies the very essence of who we are as new creatures in Christ, making our character indispensable.
Proverbs 17:3 provides very relevant wisdom below:
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.
Christians benefit from the Holy Spirit’s transformational power as we become sanctified where we are made more and more like Christ. Godly character is the result of working out what the Holy Spirit has already worked in each of us (Philippians 2:12).
Correspondingly, the same article from Gotquestion.org continues by encouragingly telling us that,
Character in the believer is a consistent manifestation of Jesus in [their] life. It is the purity of heart that God gives becoming purity in action.
Like the apostle Paul always taught, Christians are able to always rejoice, particularly during trials, tribulations and sufferings because we know that all things are working out for our good (Romans 8:28). Being anchored in Christ Jesus provides Christians with an unshakable level of security even in the midst of turbulent seasons of our lives. What an absolutely glorious truth and an incredibly comforting promise that Christians can always cling onto!
In conclusion, a Christian’s character palpably evidences the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as it forms our new Christlike identity. The sufferings of the present day and age gradually mold us into the godly people God purposes for us to become. Therefore, as Christians we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to embrace sufferings as we cling onto the hope that the best is truly yet to come!
In a like way, Romans 8:18 tells us below:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Next time I plan on concluding this series by underscoring the hope that all Christians have in Christ Jesus and its connection to the themes discussed within this overall series.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray that this blog post may edify and uplift all of us in our different walks of faith. As a Church, may Your Spirit work among believers to strengthen our characters in order to fortify Your Kingdom and to more effectively evangelize to those who are unreached.
In Jesus’ Precious Name, I pray, Amen.